The Internet impacts all of our lives in some form or another. People communicate through the cyber world, you can shop and pay bills using the Internet, and more than ever, people go online for their news and information.
While there are plenty of benefits to using the Internet, such as keeping in contact with your grandchildren through Facebook and email, or doing your holiday shopping without having to leave the comforts of your home. However, there dangers lurking in the online world, especially for those who are less experienced navigating cyberspace.
October was National Cyber Security Awareness Month. Here are some tips especially for seniors to stay safe while using the online world:
- Be wary of strangers: While the Internet is a great place to meet people and join in conversations with others who share similar interests through message boards and online communities, be careful when sharing info with strangers. Never provide personal information to strangers online. According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, you should especially never provide your full name, age, address, birthdate, email address, social security numbers or insurance information. After gathering your personal information, criminals can use your personal information to steal your identity, potentially access your bank accounts or utilize credit under your name.
- Be careful who you trust: You should always be cautious of entering contests, joining clubs and organizations or sharing other personal info online unless you are certain to be communicating with a reputable website. Also be cautious of opening attachments, clicking on links or responding to emails from sources you don’t know.
- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is: Have you ever heard of the saying, “there is no such thing as a free lunch?” That is especially true in the online world. However, the saying also holds true for those who promise to provide you with free gifts, vacations or other prizes. Typically, these promises of free items are designed to get you to provide your personal information.
- Report suspicious activity: If you find that someone is scheming to try and gather your personal information, tell someone. Don’t be shy about telling a family member, an American Grand staff member, or alerting local police. Also, be sure to alert friends and neighbors of the activities so they don’t potentially fall victim to similar threats.